Coach Wooldridge to Undergo Surgery

MANHATTAN - Kansas State head coach Jim Wooldridge will have surgery Wednesday to remove a bulging disk in his neck and will be unable to coach the Wildcats against Iowa State that evening, the school announced Monday.

Assistant coach Jimmy Elgas will serve as the team's interim head coach in Wooldridge's absence. Elgas is in his sixth season at Kansas State, including his fourth as an assistant coach.

"I have been suffering with this condition for much of the season and it has become more acute over the past 10 days," said Wooldridge. "The doctors have informed me that without immediate attention that this condition will only become more serious and permanent. I hate to step away from the team at such a critical juncture of the season, but I believe that I have to take measures now to correct these health issues."

Wooldridge, after undergoing tests by team doctors in Manhattan, was referred to a neurosurgeon in Kansas City on Monday, and surgery was recommended. Wooldridge is suffering from a "significant disk protrusion" at the C3-4 vertebrae in his neck, which is creating pressure on his spinal cord causing numbness in his upper and lower extremities. Doctors also discovered a disk bulge and a small bone spur at the C5-6 vertebrae.

Wooldridge's return to coaching will be dictated by the speed of his recovery and a medical clearance from his physician.

Individuals interested in sending well-wishes to Wooldridge should send those to the men's basketball office at 1800 College Avenue, Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, KS 66502.

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